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This post was guest blogged by Mike Toal from www.mastersathletics.co.uk. Last month, Mike wrote How to Run Faster.
Get more out of your 800m training – without the pain!
There are 3 well regarded 800 meter running “types”. These are the sprinter, the jack of all trades and the long distance runner.
The SPRINTER responds to short intense reps (no longer than 600m) with a long rest, and is reluctant to do the long Sunday run!
The JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES is happy to train either with the sprinters or the long distance runners.
The LONG DISTANCE RUNNER train at a slower pace but there volume is significantly higher than the sprinter and the recovery quicker. These revel is grinding out the reps and the miles. These are more reluctant to do 400 metre type training (speed endurance sessions: fast with long rest).
The 800m is a highly anaerobic event (is has been well documented that the 800m is 67% anaerobic and 33% aerobic). Therefore you training should specifically reflect this. Specificity is the key to successful 800m training and if done properly with the right recovery significantly reduces the chances or overtraining and picking up fatigue injuries.
The point I am making is that if you’re race pace is around 2 minutes at 60 second per 400m: why train slower than this?
Eight hundred meter running is most efficiently developed by repetitions of high speed running of anywhere from forty (40) to ninety (90) seconds duration.
It is essential to play to an athletes strengths.
You may be a sprinter type (as I am) and struggle with the long drawn out winter training sessions (i.e. 12 x 400m with 2 minutes rest). Therefore run 2 reps and miss one. This will keep the pace higher (for me 65seconds as opposed to 70 seconds), the quality will be there and it won’t be too far off race pace.
The best session to develop your aerobic capacity and strength is to ditch the long runs. Forcing a sprinter type on a 40 minute run is counter productive and won’t get the achieved results. The best session is something like 5 * 1000 meters with a short (1 or 2 minute) rest, at 5km pace.
Moving out of the winter and into the spring and summer the reps should intensify and the volume decrease. But ensure that the recovery reflects this. When the sessions intensify, make sure that the recovery increases. Never increase intensity without increasing the recovery time (between reps and between intense sessions)
About the Author
Mike Toal is a Masters 800m runner and was 4th at the World Masters Championships in 2007. You can contact him, see other athletic related articles, or leave your own comment on the forum at his website www.mastersathletics.co.uk.